The upgrade at Swanley railway station has seen two new spacious entrances, along with improved waiting rooms and toilet facilities, providing a more welcoming and comfortable station.
The huge project has also seen more information screens, better lighting and CCTV installed to deliver an improved travel experience for passengers whilst also providing better customer and colleague safety.
The approach road to the station has also seen improvements carried out in a bid to encourage people to walk or cycle to the station, which in turn will lead to a reduction in traffic congestion with the added benefits of improving both air quality and safety.
Matt Hawken, station manager at Swanley Station and the Southeastern team were there to welcome both passengers and guests at the official unveiling.
The new station is now more spacious with a contemporary open-plan design, which makes for a more inviting destination to travel to and from.
The original Swanley railway station building was built in 1939 and underwent a rebuild in 1959, the latest improvements are the first ugrade in more than 60 years and is set to serve the people of Swanley for many years to come as the town grows and as passenger numbers return.
The official opening also represents a successful partnership between Southeastern and Thameslink alongside Network Rail and the local authorities of Kent County Council and Sevenoaks District Council.
The Swanley railway station upgrade is part of Southeastern’s ongoing drive to win back its customers with further steps seeing the introduction of flexible season tickets, more advance fares and the rolling out of the new City Beam trains onto the Dartford, Hayes and Sevenoaks routes.
Additional train services are also being brought into action on the timetable from the 12th of December and also during February 2022. These new services will see six extra City services each day, running between Maidstone East and Blackfriars, and stopping at Swanley.
Rail Minister Chris Heaton-Harris, said:
“This upgrade transforms Swanley station into a modern experience for passengers – enhanced CCTV for passenger safety, reduced crowding and introducing new space for cyclists and passengers to wait.
“Not only will the investment improve access to the station, it will improve ticketing facilities while making them safer and more comfortable to pass through.”
Southeastern’s Managing Director, Steve White, said:
“Our priority in the months ahead is to continue winning back our customers and reverse the shift away from rail travel that took hold during the pandemic. Rail is the greener way to travel and we want to make our service an easy and compelling choice for people to make.
“The station is often the beating heart of the community, and we aim to make ours as welcoming as possible. These improvements do just that.
“I’d like to say a huge thank you to our station manager Matt Hawken and his team for looking after our passengers while the work was taking place. They are now really looking forward to welcoming customers back.”
Network Rail’s Capital Delivery Director for the Southern region, Darren Colderwood, said:
“Network Rail is really proud to have been part of a real cross-partnership effort to make Swanley station more accessible and user-friendly for passengers.”
“During the last year we’ve invested over £660m in the railway across our Kent route to support the country to build back better so passengers can feel confident and safe as they continue to return to travelling by train.”
KCC Cabinet Member for Highways and Transport, Cllr David Brazier, said:
“I am delighted we have been able to play a role in ensuring this railway station is more attractive and can deliver the very best experience for passengers.
“KCC is committed to investing in, and promoting, sustainable travel and encouraging the use of public transport as we rebuild the economy while we exit the pandemic.”
Leader of Sevenoaks District Council, Cllr Peter Fleming, said:
“The new station is exciting news for Swanley. Not only does it look amazing, it will improve the experience for the many rail travellers who use the station.
“We are very pleased to have secured three-quarters of a million pounds towards the project that is a fantastic gateway to the town.”